It is said that if you can tell your story and you don’t feel like crying, you’ve healed. The emotional pain that overwhelmed my life has slowly ebbed. The wounds felt so sensitive, that even a minor trigger was enough to make me feel like a 13-year-old child. Finally, I get up in the morning feeling safe and at peace. It feels so wonderful to not be filled with anxiety, rage, or anger.
Reframing Old Stories
I think I have reached that stage in my life when I no longer need to keep repeating the same stories and narratives. Moreover, neither am I overwhelmed and drowning in corrosive hate and bitter resentment. Sorrow and sadness at what should have been and the feeling of betrayal have slowly ebbed away.
However, I know that no matter how much alive I feel today, there may be times when I could be triggered back to feelings of abandonment and rejection of a helpless child. That I will always have to be vigilant and protect myself which means avoiding people or things that don’t nurture me. When I am hurt I need to indulge in self-care and give myself emotional first-aid.
How to practice emotional first aid | Guy Winch
The Scars of Emotional Wounds
We cannot pretend and deny that our past has shaped who we are today. You are no longer that innocent, naive person who will be taken in by anyone’s sob story. Now, you are alert to any signs of abuse. Though you may no longer be hypervigilant you know it is better to err on the side of caution.
Furthermore, you stop giving people more than a second chance. You have learned that misbehavior can be overlooked once but forgiving it, again and again, is putting yourself up for abuse. Turning the other cheek only reinforces bad behavior. And you will definitely not put yourself in the line of fire. The hard lesson you learn from an abusive childhood is that people closest to you tend to make you their urn to put their dead ashes if you allow them. The best option is to run, escape, and shut that person out. It is a survival tactic you readily employ without any feeling of guilt.
Becoming a Worldly Dakini
In Tibetan Buddhism, when one attains enlightenment, even accidentally, the Buddha appears to that person, as a woman, in the appearance of Drolma, the Great Mother. She then takes on the appearance of a Dakini or Goddess. There are two types of Dakinis – Wisdom Dakini and the Worldly Dakini. Surviving the dark night of my soul has made me a Worldly Dakini. I have attained some insights but not yet fully liberated from the cycle of human existence.
Snippet from Jennifer Welwood’s poem The Dakini Speaks
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride — let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
Journeying through the vast, terrifying landscape of abuse, traversing the thorny paths of rejection and invalidation, we emerge stronger and wiser. Like heroes, we have slain our demons and emerged the heroine of our own story.
The Feeling of Peace and Safety
Although I no longer share a trauma bond with my family, there will always be times when I will feel the loss of what could have been. A legacy of love that should have been mine without asking.
No longer do I feel afraid to be who I really am. There is the feeling of being comfortable in my space and feeling whole in my mind and body. The childhood encoding of having to be the good girl and fit in with your family’s expectations no longer defines you. You have let go of shame and release the burden of misplaced guilt. And no longer blindly accept it was your fault. You were innocent and helpless.
For me the internet became the source of my refuge, it took courage to expose my vulnerability. When I shared my story and no one called me bad, everyone validated my experiences. The joy and gratitude I felt at being understood by complete strangers have been healing.
Every acceptance and validation slowly felt like a golden lacquer joining the fragmented pieces of my shattered psyche. Like a work of Kintsugi, parts of my shattered psyche came together. I know I will never be smooth and unblemished. The cracks will always be visible but they are bonded by the love and support of people who really care and understand.
I look to the future with gratitude and compassion for those who still struggle. My sincere hope is that someday healing emotional pain is not looked upon as a weakness but given the support and care that healing physical pain is shown. Because studies have shown that our brain is affected by the emotional pain of a broken heart.
Image source: Pixabay
General Theory of Love – Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini & Richard Lannon